GOCO poised to say no | VailDaily.com

GOCO poised to say no

Don Rogers

Colorado’s leading open space grant provider was going to reject giving Eaton Ranch any money.Great Outdoors Colorado’s staff recommended turning the application down. And Eagle County’s representative to the GOCO board, Joan Harned, had expressed reservations about the wisdom of the deal.Basically, this is a case of spending too much for too little – pretty much all the way around.The Vail Valley Foundation applied for $500,000 from GOCO for 16 acres along the Eagle River of the total 72-acre parcel dominated by the gravel pit in downtown Edwards.The truly valuable riverside land can be preserved without the county emptying its open space fund and dipping into the general fund to help buy this lot outright. The $12 million the county and foundation hope to raise for the purchase could and should go to more worthy open space projects.The writing on the GOCO wall is telling, as we’ve said before in predicting this outcome.Foundation and GOCO spokespeople have put the best face on it: The project doesn’t really need GOCO funding, and there’s a lot of cooperation among donors to buy the land. Really? The county’s open space advisory committee recommended the county contribute with a 6-5 vote last fall. If they took the vote today, it’s reasonably clear to us that they’d say no. And if Commissioner Michael Gallagher had felt well enough to run for re-election, the county never would have gone for overspending to preserve Eaton. That’s close.A stamp of approval from GOCO would have brought credibility to the project. Forget the spin, the simple fact that the state’s premier open space group has not speaks volumes about Eaton’s merits. Vail, Colorado

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